A lot of positives have been said of the wise. However, few have reached the level of promising a life of ease and safety. Fear of harm may be a step down from those other two outcomes, but let’s dissect this claim of significant benefits.
Proverbs 1:33: “but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
Without Fear of Harm
The easiest of the three claims to understand is the fear of injury. In this case, I think we must assume that a wise individual goes into risky situations assuming the risk. Thus, fear is not truly an issue. Instead, there is simply the knowledge that things may go well and may not. I do think that wisdom does not erase fear, but I can see an academic argument for this point. I can wisely know a snake is dangerous and have a fear of being bitten.
For example, I can know a snake is dangerous and have a fear of being bitten. Knowing that I might suffer a snake bite does not avoid that fear. Of course, a truly wise individual would be able to avoid getting close enough to a snake to be afraid. Or would they?
Be at Ease
Wisdom does help provide a life of ease. The wise do not needlessly worry or end up in situations that cause discomfort. Yeah, I have a hard time agreeing with that too. Does wisdom protect us from illness? From losing a job? From a rainy day?
I have to think that none of these is the point. One can be at ease without being in an ideal situation. This mindset is often expressed as “it is what it is” in the modern world. We accept that things are a certain way and we cannot change nor even impact everything in our life. Therefore, although things do not always go our way, wisdom can help us go with the flow.
Live in Safety
The claim that knowledge helps us live in safety is the hardest to swallow. We are not always in control of our life. Yes, wisdom can lead us to the safest path, but if the path of greatest safety is through a war zone then how safe is that? This point is where I wonder how much more wisdom Solomon had than any of us. It makes me wonder if there is an amount of knowledge where we truly could control our lives. Maybe true wisdom would allow us always to avoid the choice that takes us through a figurative war zone. Something to consider from this wisest person that ever lived.